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Top 10 Best Black Managers In MLB History

Ranking the best Black Baseball Managers In MLB history with names such as Dusty Baker, Frank Robinson, and many more

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By admin | March 22, 2023

The game of baseball has evolved over the years while the early part of the history was split between Major League Baseball and the Negro Leagues.

Over time, all became one as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier while allowing black baseball players to join professional baseball.

However, while the transition was made for players, it took till the 1975 MLB season when Frank Robinson was named player manager of the Cleveland Indians. Since that time MLB black coaches are far and few between.

However, two of the best managers in baseball land among the Top Best African American Managers in MLB History while each leading their teams to the World Series Championship over the past few MLB seasons.

Those two black managers are Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros who ranks among the best MLB managers of all time and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baker who has been managing on and off since 1993 has built a strong resume as manager leading multiple teams to the playoffs while becoming the third black manager in baseball history to win a World Series as a manager.

Meanwhile Roberts is moving up the manager rankings while ranking among the best managers in baseball while leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to the top of the NL West division. Here is a look at the Top 10 Best Black Managers in MLB History.

Honorable Mention

Davey Lopes

Career Record: 144-195

Team(s): Milwaukee Brewers

Landing just outside of the Top 10 Best Black Managers in MLB History is the former Milwaukee Brewers manager Davey Lopes. Lopes, who played from 1972 to 1987, took over as the Brewers manager in 2000 before the start of the 2000 MLB season.

Lopes would go on to manage the Brewers through the first 15 games of the 2002 MLB season before being let go. Lopes would catch with multiple clubs including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals as first base coach.

Cecil Cooper

Career Record: 171-170

Team(s): Houston Astros

Cecil Cooper joins Davey Lopes on the outside due to the lack of managerial experience and career success. However, Cooper became the first black manager of the Houston Astros on an interim basis during the 2007 MLB season after the team’s struggles led to the team moving away from Phil Garner.

After finishing the season winning 15 of their final 16 games, the Astros signed Cooper to be the team’s manager where he would go on to manage till late within the 2009 MLB season after the team struggled to succeed despite a talented roster including Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. Cooper would post a 171-170 career record over the one plus season he managed the Astros.

Top 10 Black MLB Managers

10. Hal McRae

Career Record: 399-473

Team(s): Kansas City Royals

Coming in at number 10 on the Top 10 Best Black Managers rankings list is the former Kansas Royals player and manager Hal McRae.

McRae who spent from 1973 to 1987 as a player for the McRae would return in 1991 as the teams manager where he would manage through the 1994 MLB season with the Royals posting a 286-277 record including posting an 84-78 record during the 1993 MLB season.

McRae would return to managing for the 2001 and 2002 seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays but failed to produce, winning just 113 games and losing 196 in the two seasons. 

9. Willie Randolph

Career Record: 302-253

Team(s): New York Mets

After putting together a solid MLB resume, Willie Randolph spent the following years serving as coach for the New York Yankees before landing the New York Mets manager job in 2004. 

Randolph, who also played for the Mets during his career, would go on to coach through 69 games in the 2008 MLB season before being let go.

After finishing with an 83-79 in his inaugural season, Randolph led the Mets to the best NL record winning 97 games and a spot in the MLB playoffs. The Mets would reach game seven of the 2006 NLCS before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Randolph couldn’t continue the success in 2008 with a late season collapse and a slow start in 2009 led to his release. In his time with the Mets, Randolph guided the Mets to a 302-253 record while going 6-4 in the MLB postseason.

8. Lloyd McClendon

Career Record: 501-613

Team(s): Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers

Another former MLB player to land on with one of his former teams as a manager was Lloyd McClendon who joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as their manager after the 2000 MLB season. 

McClendon would go on to manage the Pirates till his firing in September of 2005. Over his time the Pirates posted a 336-446 career record.

After spending time as the Detroit Tigers hitting coach and four different player win batting titles, McClendon landed his next manager job for the 2014 MLB season with the Seattle Mariners.

Over the course of the next two seasons the Mariners would go on to win 163 of 324 games with McClendon as manager while failing to reach the playoffs in either season.

His last manager position came at the end of the 2020 season while leading the Tigers to a 2-6 record to end the season. McClendon posted a career resume of 501-613 over his time as manager with the Pirates, Mariners, and Dodgers.

7. Don Baylor

Career Record: 627-689

Team(s): Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs

Over his MLB career Don Baylor racked up a solid MLB resume including 338 home runs, one AL MVP award, and a World Series Championship.

After retiring from Major League Baseball in 1988, Baylor would spend time with both the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers as the team’s hitting coach before landing the manager position for the Colorado Rockies in 1993.

Baylor would spend the next five seasons managing the Rockies where he would lead the club to their first playoff appearance while winning the NL Manager of the Year Award.

Unfortunately, the success could not pick up over the next few seasons leading to his firing after the 1998 MLB season and posting a 440-469 career record.

Baylor would return to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2002 but after the team posted just 187 wins in 307 games, he was let go. Baylor would go on to post a 627-689 career record. 

6. Ron Washington

Career Record: 664-611

Team(s): Texas Rangers

After the Texas Rangers elected to move on from Buck Showalter after the 2006 MLB season, Ron Washington landed the job as the Rangers manager where he would spend from 2007 to 2014.

Washington would have his ups and downs over his first two seasons before leading the Rangers to six consecutive winning seasons including three straight trips to the postseason and back-to-back World Series.

After a horrible start to the 2014 MLB Season, Washington elected to resign while finishing his managing career with a 664-611 record while posting a 18-16 record in the postseason.

5. Jerry Manuel

Career Record: 704-684

Team(s): Chicago White Sox, New York Mets

Rounding out the Top 5 black managers landing on the Top 10 Best Black Managers rankings list is Jerry Manuel. As you start to move up the list the win totals picked up while seeing three managers lead their teams to World Series Championships.

One black manager that had success as manager is Jerry Manuel who posted a career 704-684 record as manager of the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets.

Manuel would get his manager debut during the 1988 MLB season while managing the White Sox through the end of the 2003 season.

Despite strong success the White Sox managed to make the playoffs just one time with Manuel as manager with the team posting a 95-67 record before losing to the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS.

Manuel would return in 2008 to manage the Mets but failed to get the team to the playoffs in his two plus seasons and would not land a new deal following the 2010 MLB season.

4. Frank Robinson

Career Record: 1,065-1,176

Team(s): Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals

The pioneer to opening the door for black managers, Frank Robinson took over as a player manager for the Cleveland Indians before the 1975 season (making him the first black manger in MLB history) and would guide the Indians to a 186-189 record before being fired during the 1977 MLB season.

Robinson would return to coaching at various times over the course of the next 20 years including stints with the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.

Over his manager career Robinson would compile a 1,065-1,176 record while posting five winning seasons. Robinson who is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and 500 home run club helped open the door for the future.

3. Dave Roberts

Career Record: 653-381 (Through 2022 MLB Season)

Team(s): San Diego Padres (1 game), Los Angeles Dodgers (Current)

 The big question is how high can Dave Roberts move up on the list of the Best Black Managers list? The current Los Angeles Dodgers manager has picked up 653 wins in 1,034 games managing mostly with the Dodgers. Roberts would be hired before the start of the 2016 MLB Season helping to lead the Dodgers to a 91-71 record.

Since that season the Dodgers have made the postseason in six additional seasons while winning the NL West in six of Roberts seven seasons as manager including the 2020 MLB season when the Dodgers went on to win the World Series. His success leading the Dodgers landed him the 2016 NL Manager of the Year award. Roberts will look to add to his record for years to come.

2. Cito Gaston

Career Record: 894-837

Team(s): Toronto Blue Jays

Depending on your metrics and how you look at specific statistics Cito Gaston may land atop the list of the best black managers. Gaston, who was the Toronto Blue Jays manager in two different stings, led the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993.

Gaston would lead the Blue Jays to five first place finishes while posting an 18-16 record during the postseason. After being fired in 1997, Gaston returned from 2008 to 2010 but failed to return the Blue Jays success of the early 1990’s while posting just one winning season over that stretch. 

The Blue Jays manager announced before the start of the 2010 MLB season that he would retire upon the conclusion of the season. Gaston finished his career with an 894-837 career record all with the Blue Jays. 

1. Dusty Baker

Career Record: 2,093-1,790

Team(s): San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros (Current)

Landing at the top of the 10 Best Black Managers in MLB History is the three-time Manager of the Year Award winner Dusty Baker.

Baker has had success in every stop he has made with the five teams he has managed leading each club to at least one playoff appearance, and one first place finish.

His latest success pushes him to the tops of the list of black managers while also moving him up the list of the best managers of all time list.

Baker took over the Astros in 2020 before leading the Astros to the World Series in 2021 and 2022 eventually winning his first World Series title after the Astros knocked off the Phillies during the 2022 MLB season.

Baker has a 2,093-1,790-career regular season record to go along with 12 postseason appearances and a career 51-46 postseason record.

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